The Friday night football games at Auburn High are a tradition that has gone on for many years. It is the usual highlight of the week for many players, coaches, students, parents, and even
teachers. It can be seen as a source of entertainment that brings the community of Auburn together. This season, however, that long-lived era has been put to a halt. Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as Triple E, is a deadly airborne virus that comes from mosquitoes, and has made a comeback in Massachusetts. Not just the Friday night games at Auburn, but every game for any football team that occurs at night, has been affected. For everyone's safety, the beloved games have been moved to earlier times, or to Saturday afternoons. This situation is quite unfortunate for both players and spectators since the night games were not just what everyone was used to, but brought people together at a time that was convenient. Mr. Dufour, teacher at Auburn and a coach of the football team, expressed his feelings about this turn of events and how the first game went as well.
“Well, we were disappointed because we were looking forward to playing on Thursday night versus Oxford, and it was going to be televised on Channel 3,” said Mr. Dufour. “Traditionally, for some reason, we’ve always been slow starters on Saturdays. We definitely play better at night.”
Mr. Dufour added that he was not the only one who had mixed feelings about the new schedule.
“I think they were disappointed,” he said of the kids on the team, “because everyone likes playing either Friday night or Thursday nights. They are usually kind of a big event whether you’re playing or not, so it messes the routine a little bit. Fewer people come on Saturdays versus a Friday night, and that takes away something as well.”
The first game of the season, against Oxford, was also a bit of a letdown.
“Well, we lost, 18-12,” said Mr. Dufour. “Oxford ended up scoring with about five minutes to go, which didn’t help. We’re relying on a lot of younger players, so you have to expect some good and some bad.”
Still, Mr. Dufour expresses hope for the future, and believes that the team can get their mojo back?
“Yeah, traditionally most teams play Friday nights, there are very few Saturday games during the year. The most we’ve played in any year was about two out of eleven or twelve. So the more you do something, the more you become accustomed to it, and are able to acclimate yourself to it, so I think, hopefully things will become better as the team gels together and becomes more of a cohesive unit. So hopefully, we will get used to playing on Saturdays, if we need to.”
“In this particular game, we definitely had some ups and downs, we had some newcomers
that were contributing for the first time,” added Mr. Dufour. “CJ Willis, Alex Stencel, Griffin Handfield, Josh Adams, Anthony Cintron, and Mike Nato made some significant contributions throughout the game. There were a bunch of people that definitely made plays. We were 1-2 players short, however.”
Hopefully as we transition into fall and the weather grows colder, Friday night football games can eventually make a comeback. As for later outdoor sports, Triple E may still be in effect since a cure is yet to be discovered. ●